My Favorite 14 Things to do Vilnius, Lithuania
My Favorite 14 Things to do Vilnius, Lithuania - Understand
Lithuania is known for its overly successful basketball team and to have the world's fastest internet connections. However, the Soviet Union is at every step that you take in the capital Vilnius. The country is clearly trying to depart from that image and mindset but it's still a lot of work in progress.
Vilnius seems more entrepreneurial and more American than its Baltic sister countries. Lithuanians are usually happy to find someone to speak English with.
The price level in this cityseemed higher than in Poland but still below US or Scandinavian prices.
Vilnius has a decent Old Town but won't keep you busy for too long - a few days are plenty here.
My Favorite 14 Things to do Vilnius, Lithuania - Get Around
VilniusAirport is a tiny affair and easy to navigate. Uber is in town and was my preferred way to get around during my time there. There doesn't seem to be a lot of drivers (or users) yet, so the rates frequently changed (i.e. it was surging).
Many of the cabbies lingering in old mini vans all over the city aren't trustworthy. I made the mistake of getting in one (on day one) and simply asked for the meter to be switched on. It was duly at EUR 1.95, but a block later and it was already at EUR 6. The fiddled meter ran wild. I requested to get out and remained vigilant in seeing the taxi license. To my surprise, the driver complied and offered to take me all the way to my destination for EUR 6 (a decent price) because 'the meter was not working right.'
Most of the Old Town can (and should) be covered on foot.
My Favorite 14 Things to do Vilnius, Lithuania - Safety
I'd say that it is a safe town in general. Nevertheless, I feel a lot of areas are poorly lit and seem more sketchy than they should. I would be a bit more careful here than what you would be used to in other European capitals.
My Favorite 14 Things to do Vilnius, Lithuania - Sights
As with other Baltic capitals, Vilnius has a pretty Old Town for visitors to enjoy. However, it is more widespread and not as well restored as, say, Riga.
This pretty square (which features a Christmas market in December) features thecharming cathedral that dates back to the 14th Century (though the current structure stems from the 18th Century).
Trakai Island Castle
Trakai Castle is a wonderful city escape in summer and is just 20 miles from the city center.
Gediminas' Tower, Vilnius Castle
Vilnius Castle is located on a hill right behind the Cathedral Square. There isn't much to see in terms of old buildings, but the view from the hill is awesome.
The Swedbank Tower has a publicly accessible outdoor terrace where you can enjoy the sunset. I visited in winter so spending time outdoors at 10 degrees Fahrenheit wasn't something I was looking forward to!
My Favorite 14 Things to do Vilnius, Lithuania - Eat & Drink
Jurgis ir Drakonas
Jurgis ir Drakonas is a mini chain in Vilnius that offers delicious pizza and a modern vibe for a low price.
Pizza Verde is another local favorite for pizza in Vilnius.
Kitchen feels very Scandinavian. The dining room is quiet like a library and there is lots of modern, dark wood and olive oil abound.
We ordered from both the daily menu and the regular menu. Both options looked good but seemed bland and undercooked. I can see the ambitious owner is really trying to make this place work but I wish he'd review the kitchen staff and the food served.
Taste Map Coffee Roasters
Easily the best coffee I had in the Baltics. This is a brand new venture and the owners seem to really care. The staff are friendly, the WiFi is fast and the desserts are delicious. Can life be any better than this?
Coffee1 is a tiny affair; it feels like you stepped into the barista's living room. But the chatty owner is happy to explain his way of life while you sip excellent coffee and enjoy snacks. There is fast WiFi, too, and the prices are low.
Pitarija 'Fire Place'
I did not have the chance to stop by Pitarija unfortunately, but the baked eggs (if you like eggs) look delicious!
Vapiano is a major German franchise that serves cheap (but somewhat bland) Italian food. The local outlet looks a cut above the rest.
Alchemikas Cocktail Lab
The locals swear by the cocktails made here.
Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories
Crooked Nose Coffee is the real deal - a friendly host who seemingly knows everything about coffee and lots of beans to choose from (you smell the beans before your coffee is brewed).
Sue's Indian Raja
Sue's Indian Raja serves original Indian cuisine right at Cathedral Square. The service is attentive but a little too formal and the curries are surprisingly spicy.
More places to enjoy
Vilnius has a competitive landscape of watering holes and restaurants. I had these places on my list but did not have a chance to visit this trip: